Football returns home to take on Stanford
After dropping another one-point heartbreaker on the road to USC, ASU will have to rebound from the 34-33 loss as they host the #7/9 Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal and Sun Devils will square off at Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, November 13. The Devils scored on a kick return and an interception return against the Trojans, but a Trojan field goal with three minutes left proved to be the difference. Stanford comes to Tempe with an 8-1 record, 5-1 in Pac-10 play after its 42-17 win over Arizona. Arizona State will be going for its 250th all-time regular season victory at Sun Devil Stadium.
ON THE AIR: The ISP-Sun Devil Sports Network will carry all 12 of ASU's football games live on their 10-station radio network, including flagship station Sports 620 KTAR AM. Tim Healey (play-by-play) and former Sun Devil quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst (color analyst) will call the action. The Stanford game will air on 620 AM. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM radio.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: FS Arizona will televise the Sun Devils match-up with the Cardinal. Tom Leander and former ASU linebacker Adam Archuleta will call the action, with Jody Jackson patrolling the sidelines.
SUN DEVILS VS. CARDINAL: This will be the 27th meeting between the Sun Devils and the Cardinal. Arizona State leads the all-time series 16-10, although Stanford won last season's meeting 33-14 in Palo Alto. ASU is 10-3 against the Cardinal in Tempe, winning the past four match-ups at Sun Devil Stadium.
TOP TEN VISITORS: With Stanford coming to Tempe boasting a #7 ranking in the AP poll, it will mark the second visit to Sun Devil Stadium by a Top Ten team this season (Oregon was #5 on Sept. 25). This will be only the fourth time in school history that two Top Ten teams will play at Arizona State in the same season. The others came in 1987 (#7 UCLA and #2 Nebraska), 2000 (#7 Oregon and #10 Washington) and 2005 (#1 USC and #5 LSU).
NEXT UP: Arizona State will take a week off before honoring its seniors as the Sun Devils play their final home game of 2010, a meeting with the UCLA Bruins on November 26. USC RECAP: Arizona State jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but USC powered back to take a 22-7 lead in the third quarter. ASU wouldn't give in, coming back to grab a 33-29 lead thanks to a LeQuan Lewis 100-yd KO return, an Omar Bolden 66-yd INT return and a Steven Threet to Jamal Miles TD that put ASU on top. But USC would block the PAT and return it the other way for two points, then hit a 29-yard field goal with just over three minutes left to earn a 34-33 win. Threet tossed three scoring strikes, but the USC defense held over the final three minutes to hold on for the win.
ASU at USC NOTES: • Arizona State scored first for the sixth straight game and the sixth time this season. • ASU's first quarter touchdown ended a five quarter scoring drought at the L.A. Coliseum that lasted 79:56. • Steven Threet tied his career-high with three touchdown passes. • Kyle Middlebrooks made his first career start. • Gerell Robinson recorded his first career multi-TD game. • Omar Bolden returned an interception for a touchdown for the second time in his career. • T.J. Simpson set new career highs with his eight receptions for 95 yards.
THE QUAN: Senior LeQuan Lewis has come on as of late for the Sun Devils, both defensively and on special teams. Against Washington State, Lewis recorded his first career interception, picking off Cougars QB Jeff Tuel in the end zone. He also downed two WSU punts inside the 10-yard line. Against USC, Lewis etched his name into the ASU record book, returning a kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown. It was the first career kick return for touchdown for Lewis, and he became the fourth Sun Devil in history to take a kick back 100-yards. He joins Terry Richardson (vs. Oregon, 2006), Tom Pace (at UCLA, 2001) and Whizzer White (vs. Pepperdine, 1948) in the 100-yard KO return club.
THE TASMANIAN DEVIL: Freshman Junior Onyeali is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the ASU defensive line. With his Tasmanian Devil like spin move, Onyeali harassed Washington State QBs to the tune of three sacks, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. On the season he has made nine tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. His 4.5 sacks are tied for the team lead with Jamaar Jarrett. Onyeali has 13 tackles on the season, and his nine tackles for loss have a total of 54 yards. Onyeali was named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against WSU. Onyeali became the first true freshman in 26 years to earn a Pac-10 weekly honor. The last one was Anthony Parker, who was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week on October 20, 1984 after a game against Oregon. Parker's son Colin is a current Sun Devil.
O'S ISLAND: Junior Omar Bolden picked off a Matt Barkley pass and returned 66-yards for a touchdown against USC. It was Bolden's seventh career interception and the second he has returned for a touchdown. His other INT return for a score was during his freshman season of 2007, a 29-yard Pick Six at Stanford in his first collegiate start. Bolden has now scored four touchdowns in his career, including two kickoff returns.
BLOCK THAT KICK!: Arizona State has blocked four kicks this year, three punts and an extra point. The four blocked kicks are the most since 1996, when the Pac-10 Champion Sun Devils also blocked four kicks. That season, Brent Burnstein blocked three by himself. This season, Colin Parker (punt), Mike Callaghan (punt), Derrall Anderson (punt) and LeQuan Lewis (PAT) have each blocked a kick.
DEANTRE THE CENTURY-ON: True freshman Deantre Lewis has been a potent weapon for the Sun Devil offense this season. Lewis already has three 100-yard rushing games to his name, collecting them in consecutive weeks. This marks the first time since 2003 that an ASU running back has totaled three straight 100-yard games, and the sixth time since 1992. Against Portland State in the season opener, Lewis had 100-yards receiving on three catches. He is the first Sun Devils since George Montgomery in 1993 to collect a 100-yard receiving and rushing game in the same season. Lewis is a dangerous all-purpose threat, gaining 461 yards on the ground and 266 yards through the air. He has scored four rushing touchdowns and two receiving.
KERRY THE LOAD: Senior Kerry Taylor is turning in a standout senior season. Having already established a new career high in receptions and receiving yards, Taylor has made a team-leading 38 catches for 495 yards and two touchdowns. He has also tied his single game career high in receptions three times with six against both NAU, Wisconsin and USC. Taylor also had six receptions at Oregon State on November 1, 2008. Taylor's previous career high for single season receptions and yardage was 27 catches for 405 yards, set in 2008.
THREE AND OUT: The 2009 ASU Defense was one of the top teams in the nation to force opposing offensives into three-and-out possessions. The Sun Devils averaged 3.75 three-and-outs a game, for a total of 45 in their 12 contests. The D picked that right back up in 2010, forcing opponents into 34 three-and-outs through eight games, in the top 20 in the nation for average per game.
PUSH `EM BACK, PUSH `EM BACK: In 2009, the Sun Devil defense routinely made tackles for loss or for no gain. The defense finished 2009 with 120 plays that went for negative or no yards, totaling 292 yards lost for the offense. The Sun Devils were a negative play machine against Washington State on October 10, recording 26 Cougar plays to go for a loss or for no gain. The defense has continued that trend in 2010. Against USC they forced nine plays of negative or no gain for 31 yards in losses. RUN, SPARKY, RUN: Last season, the Sun Devil rushing game totaled 24 runs of 10 yards or more, including two of 50 or more. Through nine games in 2010, ASU has already surpassed that total. There have been 36 runs of 10 yards or more this season, including Deantre Lewis' 53-yard touchdown run against Oregon. Cameron Marshall owned the longest run from scrimmage in 2009, going 75-yards against Washington. MORE ON THE GROUND GAME: ASU has rushed for 15 touchdowns this season after running for 14 all of last season. Cameron Marshall has seven TD runs in 2010 after Dimitri Nance had six last season to lead the team. The last three Sun Devils to have seven TDs on the ground in a season were Dimitri Nance in 2007, Ryan Torain in 2006 and Cornell Canidate in 2002. Delvon Flowers had 11 in 2001, the most in the past decade. A Sun Devil running back has also rushed for 100-yards four times this season (Cameron Marshall against Portland State and Deantre Lewis against Wisconsin, Oregon and Oregon State). ASU had a 100-yard rusher three times in 2009, twice in 2008 and six times in 2007.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: The 2010 Arizona State offense has many weapons, and through the first half of the season it is showing all of them off. ASU has completed 213 passes so far, with 16 different receivers making catches. Kerry Taylor leads the team with his 38 catches for 495 yards, while Mike Willie and Gerell Robinson are tied for the team lead with four TD grabs. Even center Garth Gerhart has gotten in on the action, making his first career reception against NAU off a deflection. 15 different people caught passes for ASU all of last season. The Sun Devils have nine receivers with 10 or more receptions, after having five all of last season.
DEBUT DEVILS: 26 student-athletes have seen their first action at Arizona State in 2010: Brice Schwab, Aaron Pflugrad, Steven Threet, Mike Willie, Junior Onyeali, Kyle Middlebrooks, Eddie Elder, Shane McCullen, Max Smith, Chris Coyle, George Bell, Deantre Lewis, Osahon Irabor, Brandon Johnson, Alden Darby, Lee Adams, Evan Finkenberg, Matt Tucker, Aderious Simmons, J.J. Holliday, Cameron Kastl, Kody Koebensky, Jarrid Bryant, Grandville Taylor, Chris DeArmas and R.J. Robinson.
BROUSSARD HONORED: Wide receivers coach Steve Broussard was named to the Seattle Seahawks' 35th Anniversary team, making the squad as a kickoff returner. Broussard played for the Seahawks from 1995 to 1998 under Dennis Erickson, amassing 3,900 return yards with a touchdown.
HARGIS MAKES IT BACK: On April 17, 2010, senior offensive lineman Jon Hargis suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during spring practice. Projected to miss the entire 2010 season, Hargis defied the odds and made his 2010 debut against the Washington State Cougars on October 30. One of the team's four captains, Hargis returned from the injury in almost exactly six months. Following his surgery, the doctors anticipated a six-to-ninth month recovery period.
FIRST STARTS: 21 Sun Devils have made their first career ASU starts during the 2010 season: Brice Schwab (RG), Aaron Pflugrad (WR), Steven Threet (QB), Mike Willie (WR), Colin Parker (LB), Jamarr Robinson (DE), Mike Marcisz (RT), Jamaar Jarrett (DE), Shelly Lyons (LB), Eddie Elder (S), Evan Finkenberg (RG), Bo Moos (DT), Oliver Aaron (LB), Deantre Lewis (RB), Kyle Middlebrooks (RB), Aderious Simmons (RT), George Bell (WR), Max Tabach (S), Junior Onyeali (DE), Osahon Irabor (CB) and Trevor Kohl (TE). In addition, Dan Knapp made his first career start on the offensive line, lining up at left tackle. Knapp started 9 games at tight end over the past two seasons. Of those 19, three are true freshmen (Lewis, Irabor, Onyeali).
GREAT START: Quarterback Steven Threet made his first career start for ASU against Portland State, and what a debut it was. The Michigan transfer, who started eight games for the Wolverines in 2008, was 14-21 for 239 yards and two scores in just under two and a half quarters. The 239 yards was the third highest total for a Sun Devil QB making his first ASU start since 1993. Only Rudy Carpenter (401) and Sam Keller (370) threw for more, and they both played all four quarters. Threet's QB rating of 184.17 was the second highest, second only to Carpenter's 207.6. Threet's 239 yards in his first career action at ASU also set a new ASU record for most passing yards by a Sun Devil QB in his first ever game action at ASU.
CAREER NIGHT FOR THREET: Quarterback Steven Threet had a huge game against Northern Arizona, establishing new career highs in several categories. Threet threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs. He also completed 33 passes to set a new career high. Against Oregon, Threet established a new high in attempts (50) and tied his career high with three touchdowns. His previous highs: 18-35 for 250 yards in Michigan's loss to Illinois on October 4, 2008. His previous career high in touchdown passes was two, which he had done three times, including the season opener against Portland State. Threet again tied his career high in TD tosses against Washington State and at USC.
NO SMALL CATCH: Wide receiver Brandon Smith caught a nine yard pass from Brock Osweiler in the fourth quarter against Portland State. While it may seem insignificant at first glance, it was anything but. It was Smith's first catch since October 25, 2008, a span of 17 games between receptions. During that time, he suffered a major knee injury, was granted a medical redshirt and graduated from Arizona State. After playing in 11 games in 2006, Smith appeared in just one from 2007 to 2009.
SENIOR CLASS: ASU has just 13 seniors on its roster this year, its fewest since the 1985 squad had just 10, which was the year prior to ASU winning the Pac-10 title and the Rose Bowl. ASU's 2007 Pac-10 title team had 27 seniors, while its 1996 undefeated regular season and Pac-10 title squad had 22. The 1986 Pac-10 and Rose Bowl champion team had 18. The 2010 and 1985 Sun Devils are the only ASU teams to have a dozen or fewer seniors in the past 35 seasons (1976-2010). How odd is it to only have 13 seniors? Digest this...the St. John's BASKETBALL team is scheduled to have nine this year. The 13 is the smallest senior class in the Pac-10.
RACKING UP YARDS: The Sun Devils ran for 242 yards in the season opener against Portland State, the most rushing yards since October 13, 2007 against Washington, when ASU, led by Ryan Torain, ran for 296 yards. ASU collected 210 yards on the ground against Oregon. The last time the Sun Devils rushed for over 200 yards in two games or more in a season was 2007, when they did it three times. They did it once last year (at Washington State), but did not do it in 2008.
WEBER LOOKS TO CEMENT HIS LEGACY: Kicker Thomas Weber looks to cement his legacy in the ASU record books during his senior season. Weber has been stellar throughout his Sun Devil career, connecting on 61-80 (76%) field goal attempts. The winner of the 2007 Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the nation's top placekicker, a First-Team All-American by the Associated Press and a First-Team All-Pac-10 honoree, Weber set numerous Sun Devil records in only his first college season, including a record streak of 17 made field goal attempts to begin the year (also a nation-leading streak for the season) and a nation-high accuracy rating. A sharpshooter off the kicking tee and in the classroom, Weber has earned Academic All-Pac-10 honors three times, earning First Team in 2007, Second Team in 2008 and honorable mention last year. Weber has scored 310 points in his ASU career, fourth most in school history. He is second place all-time in school history for made field goals, passing Jesse Ainsworth with his 52-yarder against Portland State.
EXTRA TIME: Wide Receiver Brandon Smith was granted an extra year of eligibility for 2010 after missing all of 2009 with a knee injury. The 6-2 senior played in one game over the past three seasons, battling injuries off and on throughout his ASU career. In 2006 he played in 11 games, making six catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Cornerback Omar Bolden was also granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA after missing the majority of last season with an injury. Bolden returned the opening kickoff of the game against ULM 89 yards for a touchdown, but suffered an injury on the return and was severely limited over the next two games before shutting it down for the season.
HALL OF FAME: Pat Tillman has been selected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Hall's Class of 2010. Tillman now joins former Sun Devil coaches Dan Devine, Frank Kush and John Cooper and student-athletes defensive back Mike Haynes, wide receiver John Jefferson, offensive lineman Randall McDaniel, linebacker Ron Pritchard and quarterback Danny White as representatives of Arizona State University in the College Football Hall of Fame. In all, ASU has nine former football coaches or student-athletes in the College Football Hall of Fame.
ROSTER FILES: The Sun Devil roster boasts players from 16 different states, ranging from Oregon to Florida. There are 49 Sun Devils who come from California, followed by 37 who stayed at home in Arizona. There are three from Florida, Texas, Nevada and Colorado, two from Oregon and one each from Connecticut, Utah, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New Jersey and Michigan.
EXPERIENCE: Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone boast a combined 67 years of both college and pro coaching experience, the fifth most experienced coaching duo in the nation.